NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The newest section of The High Line, “The Spur,” is complete and will be opening to the public this week just in time for summer.
Officials held an opening ceremony Tuesday morning at the intersection of 10th Avenue and 30th Street, CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported.
“This is just exciting to be here on the final phase and to see the unity, and to see how everyone all over the world comes here now,” High Line visitor Delaney Porter said.
The Spur, an extension of the already existing High Line that runs above the West Side of Manhattan, is a set of old train tracks turned into a walkway and public space high above the city. It opens to the public on Wednesday.
Interview With Robert Hammond, Co-Founder And Executive Director Of The High Line:
It’s the last section of the original structure of The High Line to be converted into public space.
The Spur features the largest lush garden in the park and the coach passage.
“Even the High Line has become an international symbol of what is possible,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “The High Line has never strayed from its roots of being integrated in the local community.”
‘The Spur’ Opening Ceremony:
It also features “The Plinth,” which will showcase artwork like the 16-foot tall “Brick House” piece currently on display.
“It delighted that you can see the sculpture from so far away down 10th avenue,” artist Simone Leigh said about her bronze creation. “I was thinking about representing black beauty as being solid and femininity about strength and solidity and not weakness.”
The High Line opened in 2009. The train line was originally scheduled for demolition until a community push was made to salvage and re-purpose its use.
In 1999, Joshua David and Hammond founded “Friends of the High Line,” a non-profit conservancy to advocate for its preservation. Work to convert the old train lines began in 2006.
Since opening, additional sections of the High Line have been added and expanded for public use. Its success has been both a blessing and a curse. While anticipated for a few hundred thousand visitor a year, last year it drew 7 million people — sometimes leading to packed in crowds on a nice weather weekend.
“I can’t even enjoy what I’m doing because I’m focused on dodging people,” said Spencer Kuzon of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“It tends to get pretty crowded, especially in the summer. A lot of slow walkers,” added Danny Otten of Jersey City.
Ray Oladapo-Johnson is vice president of park operations. He said when it comes to the crowds, they’ve been working on a solution.
“If it gets to a certain point where we’re counting people within a span of time, we’ll say these entrances are only for leaving the High Line. You can’t come in,” Oladapo-Johnson said.
And the new spur could “spur” even more people.
When asked if he has any concern that this area is going to become more crowded and pose a security issue, Oladapo-Johnson said, “No, I’m completely confident that this area will act as a, how do I say it, an offshoot.”
An offshoot that Oladapo-Johnson hopes will help reduce crowds on other parts of the High Line. But sometimes adding an attraction just brings more people.